every harvest seems to bring with it a different challenge… this year it is having enough men to get the crop off… my oldest son is working full time for the first time this year… he is 16 and for sure big enough, but I am worried every day now… the farmer remarked to me that I never used to get up worried about packing lunches and making sure water bottles were filled until this year when my beloved son is now heading out every morning…  he might be correct… I told him 12-14 hour days are too much for 16 year olds… yet another thing we disagree on…

just last night he almost ran over my other son with the tractor… Ethan was taking Brandon some chapstick and Brandon was dumping a grain cart into a semi and just about ran Ethan over… after we realized everyone was ok, Ethan and I had a good giggle that it would have been a terrible way to go…  getting run over by your brother while taking him chapstick…  Ethan could think of better ways to exit…

but Brandon was happy to get some ‘real’ work this year…  he said to me, ‘I finally feel like a real person’…  I guess he was sick of moving vehicles and helping me out…  now his younger brother gets that role…

my two kids that help me out realize that it is not the most glamorous work out there… you slave away cooking all day only to get covered in lentil dust and feel like it is an ‘inconvenience’ for anyone to even stop to get their supper! I tell them this is why I take pictures and blog about it…  makes it fun for me even if the supper might not get ate for 4 hours after delivering it or dumped upside down…  at least I’m having fun doing it!

for this first salad I overcooked the quinoa a bit, which made it mushier than I had hoped, but with the addition of the fresh cucumbers my daughter got from the garden it ended up being ok…  I didn’t add the goat cheese or avocado to the farmers salads but did to my own!

southwest quinoa salad

Ingredients:

For the Salad:

  • 4 cups cooked and cooled quinoa (1 1/2 cups dry with 3 cups water and 1 tsp kosher salt)
  • 2 cups halved grape tomatoes
  • 2 medium or 1 large cucumber, diced
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese (optional)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and diced (add right before serving)
  • kosher salt, as needed

For the Dressing:

  • zest of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (roughly 2 limes)
  • 3/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 red onion

Directions:

  • cook the quinoa up ahead and make sure it is not overdone and cooled
  • add remaining ingredients
  • for the dressing, combine everything with a Vitamix (I like extra dressing so I double the recipe – mostly because I generally add more to the salad than the recipe calls for)
  • store in the fridge until ready to serve
  • add avocado right before serving

I also made this salad this week….  good ol’ Cobb Salad…  the Instant Pot makes the hard boiled egg portion of the meal so quick and easy… perfect eggs every time!

3 minutes for a soft yolk and 4 minutes for a firmer yolk

bacon…  this is the easiest way that I have found to cook it up… 425 degree oven…

then you place it on paper towel to soak up all the grease and chop it up!

for the chicken portion of the salad, I cooked up one of the remaining chickens I have from a neighbouring farmer here…  in the last year and a half of being a vegetarian, the only meat that I long for is chicken skin… technically not meat right?  it’s skin… I don’t long for it raw… cooked chicken skin to be precise…

for both these salads I used my Vitamix for the dressing…. I love it because you don’t have to worry about getting a shockingly large piece of garlic in you salad and I find it makes the dressing nice and creamy…

blue cheese is supposed to go on this salad, and it went on mine, but I hesitate to send any sort of cheese other than feta or cheddar out to the farmers….

cobb salad

Ingredients:

For the Salad:

  • romaine lettuce, chopped
  • chicken, cooked and chopped
  • bacon, chopped
  • hard boiled eggs, quartered
  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • avocados, sliced
  • blue cheese, crumbled
  • chives, chopped (or green onions)

For the Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

Directions:

  • for the chicken, I roast a whole chicken and cut it into pieces
  • for the bacon, I place bacon on parchment paper or foil on a baking sheet and cook at 425 degrees until done – then place on paper towel
  • for the eggs, I use the Instant Pot – place eggs on a trivet in the Instant Pot and set to manual for 3-4 minutes… use the quick release and pour cold water over to stop the cooking
  • arrange the salad (I like to put the lettuce on the bottom, then the dressing, then the rest of the ingredients)
  • for the dressing, I place all the ingredients in the Vitamix and blend

it is hard to know portion wise how much food to send out – as we have a wide range of ages working out there and for some it might be enough food to survive for a week while for others, like my son, it apparently isn’t enough to get him to 10 pm in the evening… at least when I hear him eating cereal when he gets home I think that it wasn’t enough food…

I was going to post a new meat sauce recipe for lasagne but it was such a failure that I have to go back to the drawing board…  more to come on this…  needless to say I was mad…

side note: whenever I am forced (yes the farmer forces me) to cook with red meat or ground beef, the smell of it kind of makes me sick to my stomach and I think I would way rather pop a B12 pill any day than eat the meat…  just saying – it is an option!

here are the lasagnes after so much anger towards my meat sauce… Prego tomato sauce and fresh basil in ricotta saved the day!

dessert time… and this one was a hit for my 10 year old daughter… she helped me make them and loved the recipe…

I had never roasted bananas like this before for a recipe so it was fun to see how they would turn out…  everything about this recipe is light and fluffy and delicious…

I don’t often do this but with this recipe I sifted the flour with the baking soda, baking powder and salt to get the batter nice and soft…  then folding in the egg whites added more light texture to the cupcakes…

this is the part she loved… piping the frosting… eating the frosting…  laying down with a belly ache and a large glass of water after consuming too much frosting…

roasted banana cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:

  • 3-4 ripe bananas (I use 4)
  • 2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature, separated
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the Frosting:

  • 2 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

  • for the roasted bananas, bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes… place the bananas whole on a parchment paper covered baking sheet… they will get black… peel and let cool
  • return oven to 350 degrees
  • for the dry ingredients, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl
  • in an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar
  • add the egg yolks one at a time
  • add the dry ingredients and sour cream in stages
  • place in a bowl and clean our electric mixer bowl
  • whisk the three egg whites until soft peaks form
  • fold into the batter
  • scoop into greased paper liners in muffin tins
  • bake for 30 minutes and let cool completely
  • for the frosting, beat all ingredients until smooth, scraping bowl down as needed
  • pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes